Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Homemade Chocolate and Vanilla Christmas

One of the things I had on our {unorganized} fall to do list was making Christmas gifts.  I pinned a bunch of things -and in my idealistic mind came up with the concept of making things ahead. You know, so Christmas would be stress free, and I could have holly-jolly fun making meaningful memories instead of wondering who I was forgetting. (Note to self and mainbain if you're reading: still need gift for god-daughter, K.)

Yeah. That was September.  

In October (still full of idealism), I remembered to buy bourbon and we made homemade vanilla.  There are recipes all over the internet - but it's really quite simple.   I split open 10 Vanilla Beans and shoved them into 1 big bottle of bourbon (I used cheap stuff).  Shake the bottle a few times over 2 months and a magically delicious gift is made.  I had a few moments of consternation when the boys wanted multiple sniffs of the bourbon, but otherwise that particular project was a snap.  Now we I just need to label and bottle it.   

I realized shortly after December dawned,  I wouldn't be making wine cork coasters, yarn trees, stone alphabet magnets or my own snow globes.  Nightly Advent reading remained on the list, but I would be double clicking my way through Christmas shopping.  And running from store to store looking for green apple tic tacs.  (Still no luck on those...)

However- such a sweet little word.  However.

Mainbain surprised me with an immaculately cleaned house, and I felt ambitious on Sunday afternoon.  We had enough flour, sugar and yeast to make the Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon rolls.  I'm not going to recreate her rockin' tutorial, but I will tell you about a few tweaks.

  • First of all, her recipe calls for vegetable oil.  Who knows what that stuff does to your insides?  I used butter.  Nothing wrong with a little lot of animal fat.  

  • Her recipe is not only easy it's very forgiving.  I forgot to add sugar to the butter/milk mixture until I'd incorporated all the flour.  I used all my upper body strength to stir the sugar in after the fact and it rose and rolled just fine. I wouldn't call this a tweak, just a fact.

  • Cocoa powder can be substituted for the cinnamon in the recipe (hello Chocolate rolls)- or you can just add it to the cinnamon for a Mexican cinnamon roll.  Just need a bit of extra butter if you add it to the cinnamon. 

  • I thought I'd try a slightly different frosting: I substituted 1/4 c of my homemade bourbon vanilla for the imitation (blech!) maple flavoring, kept the melted butter, eliminated the coffee and added extra milk.  Tasted ideal, IMHO.

Pleasantly surprised by the ideal holly-jolly fun limabain, mexicanjumpingbain and I all had making these1

Hope Christmas is full of your ideals becoming reality - and some Chocolate roll yumminess! 

linked to
Rachel, Jen,

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Breakfast of a future frat boy

I started to name this post The breakfast of the youngest. Or The breakfast you get when you're the only boy at home because your brothers are at the barn.  I really think the determined 5 (almost 6) year old who asks without a moment's hesitation for a Grilled cheese with Bacon, deserves the title Breakfast of a Future Frat Boy.  Also, because he asked me to put a bit of bacon grease on the outside of the bread so it would get all "toasty."  

In my mind I see him as a darling, winsome 20 year old. He stands over a stove, dressed only in a t-shirt and boxers, grating cheese while the bacon fries.  His mouth is already watering.  I see him assembling the sandwich, pressing it down on the griddle to get the cheese to melt faster.  When this frat boy's breakfast is finally ready, he plops down on his saggy couch eyeing the creation on his plate.  (Ok, I know the plate part is a bit hopeful, but...)

 Breakfast of a future Frat boy
Grilled Cheese with Bacon 

3 sliced bacon, cooked crispy
1/2 c shredded cheese - we like pepper jack
1 tsp bacon grease

Ok - this couldn't be simpler.
Fry the bacon. Grate the cheese. Cut the bread (if using em's linked recipe).
Heat a flat bottom pan or griddle and assemble like this:
Brush one slice of bread with 1/2 tsp bacon grease, put bg side down on the griddle.  Mound up the cheese on the bread, snap the bacon slices in half, laying them on top of the cheese.  Top with another slice of bread, also with BG on the outside.
Cook for a few minutes on each side, until perfectly crispy on the outside and all melty-bacon-gooey goodness on the inside. 

Pretty good idea for a 5 year old, don'tcha think??


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